Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers in Grahamstown to speak about their new anthology

10 08 2011

Press Release – 9 August 2011
Students for Social Justice
Unemployed People’s Movement
Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign

Event 1: Pavement Dwellers to speak at Rhodes University
Venue: Sociology 1, Rhodes University
Date/Time: Thursday 11 August @ 19h00 – 21h00

Event 2: Symphony Way authors meet the Unemployed People’s Movement
Venue: Duna Library in Joza Township
Date/Time: Friday 12 August @ 3pm

‘A beauty, extraordinary in every way.’
Naomi Klein, author of ‘The Shock Doctrine’ and ‘No Logo’

Students for Social Justice, the Sociology Department, and the Unemployed Peoples Movement in Grahamstown have organized two unique talks by four of the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers, authors of No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way. This extraordinary anthology of struggle it testimony and poetry written on the pavement of one of the longest running civil disobedience protests in South Africa’s history.

The authors will be speaking on Thursday at Rhodes where they will discuss their struggle for land, housing and dignity with progressive academics and the Students for Social Justice. On Saturday, the authors will be meeting with the Unemployed People’s Movement where they will be engaged in discussions about their respective struggles and ways of building solidarity between poor people throughout South Africa.

No Land! No House! No Vote! is a direct challenge to the publishing industry. We cannot humanise our world through a vanguard media. The right to a voice cannot be held only be elite academics, authors and politicians; it is a right that must be claimed by the poor as well.


Speakers:

  • Florrie LangenhovenHere I’ve learned to share: I don’t work, but if I’ve got dry bread I first look around if my neighbours have got something to eat before I can eat. It feels like a BIG FAMILY.
  • Shakeera SamuelsI would never ever want to go back to peoples back yard again where my family will be treated like animals.
  • Cynthia TwiggSymphony Way has its little [vegetable] garden which I look after. I water it and even sew my own seeds. Tomatoes, gen-squash, sweet-melon, and other eatable vegs grew in my little garden which keep me going.
  • Bonita SecondsWhen they [my children] are going to grow up, they must be something. They are going to change something around in the world.

For more information on the book, please contact:

Bonita Seconds (Symphony Way author) @ 073-841-1111
Sarita Jacobs (Symphony Way secretary) @ 076-469-9843

For event info, directions and struggle info in Grahamstown contact:

Ayanda Kota (UPM) @ 078-625-6462
Ben Fogel (SSJ) @ 071-224-6524

 

Reviews:

Cape Argus – Street people book their place on library shelf

The New Age – Living in a world turned on its head

Amandla Magazine – Review by Professor Martin Legassick

Acclaim:

“A beautiful and heart-rending book that speaks a story so often undocumented.” – Nigel Gibson, author of Fanonian Practices: From Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo.

“The Symphony Way occupation was a real attempt at an insurgent and tenacious solidarity against an increasingly exclusionary and brutal society…All the tenacity, beauty, pain, desperation, and contradictions that breathe their life into any popular struggle haunt the pages of this searing book.” —Richard Pithouse, department of politics and international studies, Rhodes University, South Africa

“A magnificent and moving account of a long and hard-fought struggle . . . . a clarion call for basic human rights and for human dignity. A powerful insider’s view into the landscape of poverty in neoliberal South Africa.” — Michael Watts, Class of 63 Professor of Geography and Development Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, author of Curse of the Black Gold.

“An extraordinary collection of writings from the spirit of resilience and strength of the collective which lay bare the betrayal of the people in post-apartheid South Africa.” —Sokari Ekine, author and award-winning blogger

“This book carries not only the suffering of the Symphony Way communities but of the millions of poor people of the world. . . . It is through this courage that we can all hope for the real struggle that intends to put human beings at the center of our society.” —S’bu Zikode, president, Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement, South Africa

“As middle-class African journalists and activists, we thought we were telling the tale of the poorest, but here we are surpassed. Their truths, spoken in their sharp vernacular tongue, fly straight to the heart of the matter.” —Michael Schmidt, journalist and author

 

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